Happy birthday to Monumental Thoughts

One year down, a few more to go.

MonumentalThoughts.com celebrates its one-year anniversary today. It’s my personal journey of becoming a licensed tour guide in Washington and passing along the knowledge of the many monuments, memorials, markers, statues and observations I’ve gained.

There are a few other outstanding blogs that cover Washington’s history, but none update five times weekly (I stopped weekends after hit counts dropped noticeably. Ironically, traffic is pretty consistent now with Mondays often the most read day.)

You won’t learn enough to write a 10-page term paper on a subject, but I provide a quick read on that thing you saw. Enough to maybe remember its essence. Nobody really cares what year it was erected or how tall it is, but the stories are what we carry onward. That’s my goal as a storyteller.

As a guide, I learned how to corral people in open areas better. Created a solar-powered light to carry at night. Constantly learned additional stories to the sites people love to see.

I can finally answer the question people ask most – what’s my favorite place in town. It’s actually across the river – Arlington National Cemetery. Oh, walking up the hill to the Tomb of the Unknowns on 100-degree afternoons was a little much, but it also helped me lose 30 pounds this year. By 2016, I’ll be stick thin.

Now I’m taking the next step – creating new tours. I’ll still work the National Mall’s monuments because frankly that’s what most tourists want to see, but come back soon for the announcement of two new tours I’ll provide in addition to my Lincoln Assassination tour.

Now here are some stats on the site’s first year:

MonumentalThoughts.com drew 13,647 visitors. Not great, but this is a blog about statues, now sports. Visitors averaged 77 seconds on the blog with 43,786 pageviews. You won’t see comments because spammers forced me to disable that option.

Visitors came from 106 countries, which considering there are 195 means more than half the planet visited my blog. The U.S. was naturally my top visitor, but the rest of the top 10 respectively were the United Kingdom, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Australia, Sweden, Germany and Italy.

Google was my best friend, sending 45 percent of overall traffic. Twitter (@tourguidedc) lured 10 percent.

The most read stories of the 270 posts were:
1. Home page 12,988
2. Reflecting pool under renovation 3,306
3. About Rick Snider 824
4. Surratt boarding house now chinese restaurant 774
5. Free Lincoln assassination tour 703
6. Photo gallery 595
7. The Big Red One – literally 551
8. Canal Lock Keepers House stone’s throw from monuments 549
9. Lincoln’s hands – Urban legend or truth 492
10. 5 Questions with Segway Tours operator John Voci 408

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